Judy Wyman Kelly
Last week I witnessed a “sweet bridge” moment at The American Place (TAP).
A few weeks ago I started tutoring a Chinese woman who is temporarily living in Hartford with her adult son while he completes an internship. She is feeling very isolated as she knows no English and her son is gone all day at work. I speak Mandarin Chinese, which is why I was brought on board to meet with her weekly to provide a bit of English tutoring and also some companionship. Hartford does not have a very big Chinese community.
I was working at TAP when a Chinese woman walked in looking for some books in Chinese. She lives in Simsbury and although she does speak English well she also feels isolated and has had a hard time getting to know people. It is difficult to be a foreigner! On a whim, I called my student and asked if she wanted to meet someone from China. She came right over to TAP and the two of them hit it off.
Coincidentally, another Chinese patron arrived shortly after the two women sat down. Overhearing their animated conversation in Chinese, he went over and introduced himself. He also lives in Hartford, knows no English, and is feeling isolated.
When I left work at 2:30 the three of them, strangers to each other 90 minutes prior, were still engaged in animated conversation. As I said goodbye the woman from Simsbury said, “Today you were a sweet bridge. Thank you for introducing us all!”

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